“In the past two years the number of beginning golfers in the U.S. is higher than it was back when Tiger Woods was at his most dominant. Almost 30% higher.”
That’s from a recent report from the National Golf Foundation on the Boom in Golf for Beginners. And it’s not really a big surprise, judging by the full tee sheets reported by golf courses throughout Washington in these post-COVID days. The difference this time around is that beginners are playing more rounds of golf now than during the “Tiger Effect”—50% more.
What can we seasoned golfers do to nurture their interest in the game?
While it might be a bit of a challenge to schedule a tee time these days, remember that this influx of new golfers is important to the sustainability and health of the game we all love. And besides that, more interest in golf means more golfing buddies! So let’s put to bed golf’s reputation for being unwelcoming and do all we can to encourage their new hobby. Here are some ways you can do that.
- If you know that a friend has just taken up the sport, invite them to play a round with you. Help set them up for success by picking an easy course, maybe even an executive 9-hole if you’re not ready to commit to a 4+ hour round.
- For an even smaller commitment of time and patience, invite them to hit balls at the range.
- Invite them to play in a fun scramble event. This is a fun format to get their feet wet in tournament play, and many don’t require a handicap.
- Encourage them to take lessons and perhaps recommend a PGA or LPGA instructor you’ve had success with. Or send them to the PGA directory of coaches where they can search for an instructor by zip code, player type, and other filters to find the perfect coach.
- Suggest they get a handicap to track their improvement and to be able to play a match with you in the future. (Related article: Post your scores and get a handicap)
- And please lighten up when you get paired with beginners. Praise good shots. And when they’ve hit a bad one, let them know you’ve been there. More importantly, have fun with your game. That will cue them to do the same and will make for a more relaxing round.